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26 Feb 2014 By

9 Ways To Improve Back Pain

Stay active – Intermittent short-term low-back pain can actually be better with gentle movement and limited bed rest. Mike Flippin, MD, an orthopaedic surgeon who specializes in back and spine care at San Diego Medical Center states “I encourage my patients to get moving as quickly as possible.”
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Low level activity can often be the best medicine for back pain. Gentle walking or stretching can be beneficial by encouraging blood flow to the area and speeding up the healing process.

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The pain may have be caused by overstraining at the gym or simply by bending to pick up a piece of paper. The reality is, underlying the acute pain being experienced is a chronic problem.  Poor posture can put additional strain on already tired muscles and ligaments and it is worth observing your posture during normal daily tasks like brushing your teeth or driving the car. Alternatively, ask a friend to note your posture and then make adjustments.  Your muscles will thank you.

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Most people with chronic back pain would benefit from stronger abdominal and core muscles. Start training today.

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Most people do a type of exercise that is easy. For example people who lift weights, generally have a body type that makes this easy for them. Ask those people to attend a yoga class and you will get a funny look as flexibility is usually not their strength. We all need to develop skills we are not proficient in. Flexibility is just another one of those skills. As we age we also become less flexible and it is important to keep our muscles supple and moving, otherwise putting on shoes may become difficult later in life.

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Heating pads and cold packs can comfort tender areas. Most doctors will recommend using ice for the first 48 hours after an injury.  Intervals of 10 minutes application alternating with 10 minutes of no ice for 3 rounds, is a good starting point. This is particularly effective if swelling is involved. After 48 hours heat may be applied.

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Getting the right amount of rest is important. Most healing happens during sleep and if you are in discomfort or have poor posture during sleep this may delay some healing.

Some pointers:

Back sleepers 
Use a pillow under your knees

Side sleepers
Place a pillow between your knees to ensure your pelvis is in alignment and the spine is in a neutral position.

Stomach sleepers
This causes undue stress on the neck and head, learn to sleep on your back or side.

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Lighting up doesn’t just damage your lungs, it can also hurt your back.
A study recently published in the American Journal of Medicine found that current and former smokers are more likely to have back pain when compared with people who have never smoked.

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Research shows that practices such as meditation, deep breathing, tai chi and yoga, which help put the mind at rest, can do wonders for the back.